After spending amounts of time researching bikes that neared the definition obsession (a recurring theme…), I stepped back to think about what I was doing. I was forty-one in 2015; why did I feel the need to get a motorbike? Was this an early midlife crisis?
Possibly. The fact I was in my forties and taking up riding was not unusual; in fact it’s in line with a trend that was identified in 2003 – more people of my age were buying motorcycles (“Table 4 – Motorcycle Owners by Age in the United States for Selected Years, 1985-2003,” 2009). Of course that isn’t particularly meaningful, and merely gives credence to the idea I was mere weeks away from buying a sportscar and shagging my secretary.
Getting back to the point, back in the day I used to go to a friends farmhouse to ride one of his many dirtbikes around all day. I liked riding in the family car and being driven about along rural country roads by my dad, just for the sheer enjoyment of it. I’d been very into bicycles when I was younger, and this was something I’d definitely lost with over two decades of city living. It never occurred to me this isn’t an interest everyone shares, and I’ve met a few people that don’t get it at all. It’s summarised better by the YouTube personality TNP (nutnfancy, 2015):
…They look at driving as a burden.
…Myself, I am a pilot by nature, that’s the way I was born. I love piloting jets, I like piloting cars, I like piloting motorcycles.
I’d been in the USA for three years and lived a short walk from work; I hadn’t even bothered converting my UK license; it was one of those things to do, among a great many. Now that I had moved out of town and had a reason to drive again, I got a taste for it. This was a also a new place and outside of the city, I hardly knew it. I felt very much like something old had woken in me.
Driving around in the car again, on my own, I’d been struck by how wasteful it seemed. Not unlike the author, It was big, expensive to run, and not getting any younger. A bike fitted that desire for individuality and immediacy to the environment that a car could give you only on the right day.
My wife, for her part, was extremely supportive from the word go. She considered me careful and responsible. I had to consider I’d possibly fooled her in this respect, but I loved her vote of confidence. Either that, or she possibly wanted me dead.
There was nothing stopping me, was there?